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Charity Brake calls for road traffic conviction declarations to be reviewed (1 May 2018)

Date: 01/05/2018
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Charity Brake calls for road traffic conviction declarations to be reviewed

Charity, Brake, has spoken out after one of the worst road traffic accidents claims 8 lives, which was caused by a truck driver who had had his licence revoked as a result of a previous conviction. They call for the government to change the policy which relies on the offender to declare any road traffic convictions to an employer, providing a legal loophole to those who choose not to declare.

In this case, truck driver, Mr Masierak, was convicted for death by dangerous driving as a drink driver, for causing the deaths of Keralite minibus driver Mr Joseph and 7 of his passengers in August 2017. Another driver, Mr Wagstaff was also convicted for causing their deaths.

Mr Masierak was employed by AIM Logistics at the time of the incident, and was driving without a licence. He had had his licence revoked in July 2017, which was more than a month before the crash.

Since the company checks had taken place in June, there was no opportunity for AIM Logistics to obtain the knowledge that Mr Masierak had lost his licence at the time of the fatal incident, unless Mr Masierak chose to disclose that information himself. His failure to inform his employer may have been motivated by the fear of losing his job.

Brake urges the government to change the way licence revocation is disclosed to transport companies who employ drivers, by addressing the fact that the declaration is not automatic.

However, the Department for Transport warns that the extra regulation is unnecessary and that employers should insist upon transparency.

The judge sentenced Mr Masierak and Mr Wagstaff to 14 years and 40 months? respectively. Mr Masierak was more than twice the drink drive limit, meaning he was charged with the more serious offence of death by dangerous driving, whilst Mr Wagstaff was charged with careless driving.

Motor Law specialist, Neil Sargeant, is experienced in road traffic convictions relating to dangerous driving. He states:

“Whether or not employers should be notified of licence revocations is somewhat of an ambiguous area. Whilst I can appreciate the desire for this in the present case I think the broader picture needs to be considered.

“For many people, convictions are a personal and often embarrassing thing that they would prefer to stay private. A requirement for employers to be notified of revocations would create a huge amount of further regulation and the nature of the role of the motorist needs to be considered.

“If the requirement was only for those who drive for a living then this could be difficult to regulate. The employer has a responsibility here to ensure that their employees are fit to perform the job they are hired to do safely and perhaps the focus should be more on what the employer can do.”

Neil also warns that there are some instances when a person is not aware that they have had their licence revoked. For example, if you are caught speeding by a speed camera and the notice is sent out, there are times when people do not receive it. It might be because they have not updated their address with the DVLA (very common) or due to postal problems.

When this happens the proceedings can go ahead and a person can be convicted in absence and know nothing about it and they never know that they have to present their licence to court. Then the DVLA revoke the licence if it’s not produced within 7 days of the conviction.

The motorist would carry on driving not knowning anything about that and might not become aware of it until they are stopped by police for driving without a licence.

Neil has specialised in Road Traffic Law since 2008, establishing close working relationships with some of the country’s leading experts in this field and maintaining an outstanding record of client acquittals. His specialist expertise stretches across all road traffic law, but is most extensive in:

  • Drink Driving (with breath, blood or urine samples);
  • Drug Driving;
  • Failing to provide a specimen for analysis whether this be breath, blood or urine;
  • Being drunk in charge of a vehicle;
  • Any type of road traffic case that involves a procedure conducted at hospital;
  • Dangerous & Careless driving; and
  • Cases involving a fatality.

For specialist advice please call Neil on 020 3114 1145 or email him on neils@duncanlewis.com.

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